Republican Ken Mehlman's Thursday
fundraiser in support of the federal case against California's gay
marriage ban, Proposition 8, raised $1.2 million, gay
blog Towleroad.com reported.
Mehlman, the former chief of the
Republican National Committee, came out gay last month in an
interview with conservative glossy The Atlantic and announced
he would be fundraising for the American Foundation for Equal Rights
(AFER), the group formed specifically to support the challenge to
More than 120 people attended the event
held in New York City's Mandarin Oriental hotel.
Many gay activists have criticized
Mehlman for working against the interests of the gay community,
particularly as manager of President George W. Bush's 2004
re-election campaign. That year, eleven states approved gay marriage
bans with the backing of the GOP.
“As someone who regrets very much not
being involved, and not being on the right side of this important
effort until recently, let me just say this: This will be my first
but not my last event and I hope you will stay involved, too,”
Mehlman told the crowd.
Lead attorney Ted Olson said he
believes the case, currently on appeal, will eventually reach the
Luminaries attending the event included
gay activist and former Clinton adviser David Mixner; Freedom to
Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson; Brian Ellner, who helms the
Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) effort to legalize gay marriage in New
York; GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios; gay rights activist Richard
Socarides; Steve Schmidt, who managed Senator John McCain's 2008
presidential campaign; and former House Majority Leader Dick